Meteor Impact Model in the new Space Power Chambers
S-65 Meteor Impact Model set up in the former Altitude Wind Tunnel at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Lewis Research Center just days after the September 12, 1962 rededication of the facility as the Space Power Chamber. Although larger test chambers would later be constructed, the rapid conversion of the wind tunnel into two space tanks allowed the facility to play a vital role in the early years of the space program. The eastern section of the tunnel, seen here became a vacuum chamber capable of simulating 100 miles altitude. This space tank was envisioned for the study of small satellites like this one. The transfer of the Centaur Program to Lewis one month late, however, permanently changed this mission. NASA was undertaking an in depth study at the time on the effect of micrometeoroids on satellites. Large space radiators were particularly vulnerable to damage from the small particles of space debris. In order to determine the hazard from meteoroids researchers had to define the flux rate relative to the mass and the velocity distribution because the greater the mass or the velocity of a meteoroid the greater the damage.